I used this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens for my first year of making Thanksgiving dinner. Judging by the results, no one knew that I hadn't cooked this meal a million times before. The turkey was perfectly moist and the stuffing was incredible! If serving a large crowd, I would double the stuffing! I ran out last year because the bird needed it all, and had to make an extra casserole of Stovetop. It didn't even compare to the homemade! This recipe is well worth the effort, and your family will thank you! You don't have to mess with the fancy turkey lacing, all I did was fasten the back and legs shut with a metal skewer and it turned out fine. Prep time does not include making bread cubes.
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1⁄2 cup chopped onion
- 1⁄3 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
- 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
- 8 cups dry bread, cubes (I will tell you how to make these at the end of the cooking directions)
- 1⁄2-3⁄4 cup chicken broth or 1⁄2-3⁄4 cup water
- 10 -12 lbs turkey
- cooking oil
- For stuffing, in a medium saucepan cook celery, mushrooms, and onion in butter until tender but not brown, remove from heat.
- Stir in sage, pepper, and salt.
- Place dry bread cubes in a large mixing bowl, add onion mixture.
- Drizzle with enough broth or water to moisten, tossing lightly.
- Season body cavity of turkey with salt.
- Spoon some stuffing LOOSELY into the neck cavity.
- Pull the neck skin to the back, fasten with a skewer.
- LIGHTLY spoon more stuffing into the body cavity (place any remaining stuffing into a casserole, cover and chill. Dot with butter and bake alongside turkey for 35-45 minutes or until heated through).
- Tuck the ends of the drumsticks under the band of skin across the tail.
- If the band of skin is not present, tie the drumsticks securely to the tail.
- Twist wing tips under the back.
- Place turkey, breast side DOWN, on a rack in a shallow roastng pan.
- Brush with oil.
- Cover turkey loosely with foil.
- Roast turkey in a 325 degree oven for 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 hours, or until a meat thermometer placed into the center of a thigh (but not touching the bone) reads 180 degrees. Make sure center of stuffing reads 165 degrees.
- After about 1 1/2 hours, turn the turkey over so that it is breast side up.
- Brush breast side with oil.
- After 2 1/2 hours, cut loose drumsticks so that thighs will cook evenly.
- When done, drumsticks should move very easliy in their sockets and their thickest parts should feel soft when pressed.
- Uncover the last 30 minutes of roasting.
- To make dry bread cubes: cut bread into 1/2 inch squares.
- (12-14 slices of bread for 8 cups cubes) Place in a brown paper bag and close loosely.
- Let stand 3-4 days, mixing up by hand each day until thoroughly dry.
- OR, spread bread cubes onto a large cookie sheet in a single layer and bake at 300 degrees 10-15 minutes or until dry, stirring twice.
- I highly recommend using homemade white bread (by hand or bread machine) for the bread cubes.
- You will be AMAZED at the difference in texture!